Is Nursing The Right Career For You?

Working as a nurse can be extremely rewarding, but training to become a nurse involves several years of intensive training and hard work.

Nursing will not suit everyone and you need to have a particular set of skills and personal attributes to enjoy the role and become a successful nurse. You must check that the role is right for you before you enroll in a nursing training program.

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Below are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of working as a nurse, along with the key factors you should consider before pursuing a career in nursing.

What does a nurse do?

If you are considering a career in nursing, then you must have a clear understanding the nurse’s role and responsibilities. Nurses carry out a wide range of duties, which may include performing physical exams, recording medical histories, ordering diagnostic tests, and administering medication and treatments. Their primary duty is to care for patients who are ill or injured. Nurses work in a variety of work environments and settings. According to Medical News Today, “nurses can choose to practice in hospitals, ambulatory care, care homes, schools, shelters, and private health centers.”

The best way to learn about the role of a nurse is to gain first-hand experience of the nursing profession by completing placements and internships in a healthcare setting. This will allow you to see the pros and cons of nursing first-hand and help you decide whether you want to train as a nurse. You can also get information on the day-to-day responsibilities by reading blogs and articles on authoritative websites like NurseJournal.org.

What are the advantages of being a nurse?

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There are dozens of great reasons to consider a career in nursing. Here are some of the top advantages of working as a nurse:

High job satisfaction

One of the biggest advantages of working as a nurse is having the opportunity to save lives and care for people in their time of need. Nurses help people in a significant way and get a great sense of pride from seeing their patients recover from serious illnesses and injuries. Doing meaningful work often leads to high job satisfaction.

Good earning potential

No one should become a nurse for the money. However, nursing does offer good earning potential, especially for nurses who specialize or complete a higher qualification such as a master’s of science in nursing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses earn $75,330 per year while nurse practitioners can expect to earn around $117,670. Nurses can also increase their salary by choosing to do extra hours or work overtime.

High demand

The nursing profession is booming and there is high demand for nurses across the globe. According to registerednursing.org, “the demand for registered nurses is expected to increase by 28.4% by 2030.” This means that the demand for registered nurses will be higher than the supply. Nurses will enjoy excellent job security as a result and will find it easy to find employment and negotiate a good salary and other job perks.

Diverse job opportunities

Nursing is one of the most diverse fields in the healthcare industry. Nurses can choose to work in a huge variety of work settings and specialize in a wide variety of nursing specialties. Some common nursing specialties are nurse-midwife, clinical nurse, school nurse, and nurse anesthetist. Registered nurses can also sign up with a travel nurse staffing agency and be placed in temporary nursing positions nationwide. This allows nurses to travel and explore new places while expanding their skills and expertise.

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Career advancement

Nurses have plenty of opportunities to advance their careers and move into more senior healthcare roles. For instance, many registered nurses earn an MSN and then apply for top-level nursing positions such as ward manager. There are lots of ways for nurses to move up the career ladder and improve their earning potential and future job prospects.

What are the disadvantages of being a nurse?

Long work hours

Most hospital nurses work 12-hour shifts, although nurses often find themselves working longer hours due to medical emergencies or staff shortages. Nurses are also expected to work unsociable hours like evenings, weekends, and public holidays. This can make it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance and spend time with loved ones.

Intense training

Training to become a registered nurse takes anywhere up to four years, depending on your method of study and prior education and experience.  If you have a bachelor’s in a different discipline, then you can complete a non nursing degree to bsn online and qualify as a registered nurse in as little as 16 months. However, many graduate nurses expand their skills and knowledge by completing additional qualifications like an MSN. Aspiring nurses must be committed to their studies and be prepared to put in the hard work to complete their nursing training program.

Emotional burnout

Nurses have to deal with difficult patients and high-stress situations involving human suffering, serious illness, and death. It can be difficult to switch off and many nurses experience stress and emotional burnout. Nurses should seek the right support and counseling to protect their emotional health and wellbeing.

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Physical demands

Nursing is a physically demanding job and nurses spend all day on their feet. For that reason, injuries and strains are common in the nursing field, especially for nurses who work in busy hospital wards. Aspiring nurses should be prepared for the physical demands of the role and take steps to protect their health. Take a look at this article by EveryNurse for tips for nurse’s tired feet.

Summary

The nursing profession can offer a long and fulfilling career for someone with the right skills and attributes. That said, training to become a nurse requires significant training and financial investment, so you must ensure that it’s the best career path for you. Take the time to learn about the role and weigh up the pros and cons before deciding to pursue a career in nursing.

Photo credit: nurses.

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